Beyond the Lineup: Treefort Festival

The Treefort Music Festival, a five-day indie rock festival, takes place across various venues in downtown Boise, Idaho, from March 20th to 24th.

Referred to as “the west’s best SXSW alternative” and described as Boise’s foremost artistic, cultural, and musical event, Treefort has evolved from a quirky music festival into a significant community gathering. Despite its growth in national recognition, it maintains a personable, close-knit atmosphere, earning praise as a “music lover’s joyous mayhem” that encapsulates Boise’s energy.

By its seventh year, Treefort was lauded as “the greatest music festival in the country.” The festival’s origins trace back to the personal tragedy of producer Lori Shandro, who, following her husband’s death in a private plane crash in 2009, pursued interests divergent from her previous life, eventually establishing The Duck Club, a music promotion entity that now organizes Treefort Music Fest.

Inspired in part by the touring schedules of bands returning from SXSW and the timing coinciding with spring break for many Idaho schools, Treefort gained momentum, with Boise-based bands frequently participating in SXSW preceding the festival. Reflecting on its inception, Shandro noted a convergence of like-minded individuals sharing a vision for the development of Boise’s music scene. The festival, supported by a core of staff of six-year-round employees, approximately 100 contractors during the event, and nearly a thousand volunteers, embodies a collective effort to showcase and nurture Boise’s musical community.

Completely grassroots, driven by a do-it-yourself ethos, and devoid of corporate sponsorship, the first Treefort festival in 2012 showcased the essence of indie music. It featured over 137 bands coming from the Northwest to as far away as New Zealand and Australia. Alongside musical performances, attendees enjoyed various forms of artistic expression, including performance art, installations, and modern dance, as well as seminars covering topics like the music industry and social media. Local craft beers added to the festival’s charm. Originally planned as a small two-day event with sixty bands, Treefort expanded to encompass eight stages, including free all-ages venues, with ten hours of music daily over its initial Saturday and Sunday. Unexpectedly, around 3,000 people attended each day of the festival’s final three days, drawing attention from forty national media outlets. Day one was praised for its transformative musical experiences, and overall, the festival was likened to a burgeoning SXSW, hailed as a resounding success that firmly placed Boise on the musical map. Proceeds from Treefort support the community radio station Radio Boise, KRBX 89.9 FM.

This year, Treefort is keeping its indie flare, and bringing some desirable artists that get to shine in a genre-specific oasis. Channel Tres, DRAMA, K. Flay, Dehd, Built to Spill, Cimafunk, Kate Bollinger, and many up-and-coming bands are joining the lineup, just to name a few. Although these artists have backgrounds in subgenres, they are all united with their indie style in their respective sounds.

To get your tickets and find out more information on the festival, click here.


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